The Body in the Pool
Book One of the Dismember Killer Series
Spence heard feet rapidly tapping on the floor behind him. By the time Tom, the headmaster, and the lawyer juggled for position to exit the room, impeded by Spence, Melanie was leaning against the wall in the hallway, her eyes glued to her phone.
“I think you can return to your office, I’ll stop by once I escort the police out,” Matt said.
Doctor Wallsgraf nodded and looked relieved.
“Stacy is still in the infirmary with Nurse Nancy. Shall we?” Matt gestured to the staircase.
This time Tom pulled the phone game. “I need to pop out and take this call.” He didn’t wait for an answer before pulling open the front door and stepping through.
Irritation flashed across Matt’s face. He couldn’t be two places at once. He moved on up the stairs. Spence and Melanie followed him. Spence raised an eyebrow at Melanie as they climbed. She nodded, then quickened her pace to join Matt on his stair.
“Tell me, how long have you been general counsel here?”
“Five years.” Matt’s response was short in words as well as tone.
“Is this your only client?” Melanie was working to inject an extra measure of stupidity in her voice.
Matt gave her a skeptical look.
Melanie smiled. “Can’t blame a girl for trying.”
“Actually, I can.” Matt said wryly.
They reached the infirmary and Matt opened the door without preamble. “Nurse Nancy.”
The stunning blonde stood from her desk. “Good morning, Matt, detective.” She smiled, making eye contact with each of them.
“The detective is here to speak with Stacy, if you think she is up to it,” said Matt.
Spence wondered if this was a preplanned discussion line.
“I kept her here like you asked Matt,” the nurse sounded confused.
There was a pause in the flow as Spence tried not to laugh and Matt regrouped.
“I think it would be best if I spoke to her.” Melanie smiled at the nurse.
“That would be more soothing, I’m sure.” The nurse came around her desk and walked towards the curtained bed in the corner. Matt and Melanie followed the nurse.
Spence leaned a butt cheek on the nurse’s desk and waited for her to return. It took only a minute. While he waited he debated with himself. Flirt with her or pretend to be unaffected by her beauty? Which one would be more effective? Tired, over-worked detective trying to do his job might get the best results, she was a nurse after all.
“Detective, I really appreciate you not overwhelming Stacy. She is rather sensitive.”
“Of course.” Spence let that hang, while he sighed deeply, and pulled out his notepad, flipping slowly through the pages.
“You look very tired. Can I get you a cup of coffee?”
“That would be amazing.” Spence flashed an exhausted and grateful smile.
Nancy bustled over to the counter behind her desk and started an electric kettle.
“I still haven’t managed to get any sleep today.”
“Your job must be so stressful.”
“A bit like yours with the middle of the night call-outs.”
There was a break in the conversation as Nancy ground coffee beans. Spence tamped down his irritation. When she was done grinding, he asked, “Did you get any sleep last night?”
“I did. Once Stacy was down, I toddled off to bed myself.”
“You live on-site then?”
“Of course, what good is a nurse if you have to call her to drive over?”
Spence nodded and watched her pour hot water over the fresh grounds.
“Must be hard on a girl’s social life, living with all these teenagers.” Spence meant for his statement to sound like a question.
Nancy blushed faintly.
Hrm. Hot for nursie? “How many other adults live here? Do you all hang out at night playing bridge, Parcheesi?”
Nancy laughed. “God, no, it’s worse than that. We actually have a book club and a movie club and a knitting club, can you imagine?” She held up a knitted french press cozy, then slipped it over the glass. “Four minutes for the coffee.”
Spence pondered where to take this next. He needed to stay chatty, any hint of actual interview and Matt might whip around the corner from Stacy’s area and object.
“Most of us aren’t all that young. Thirties and forties. Not really the night life crowd.”
“What makes someone take a position living at a private school?”
“I really couldn’t say why people do it,” Nancy laughed.
“Then what made you take this position?” Spence glanced towards the curtain, stay over there lawyer.
“The money is good. It’s a nice break, a chance to step away from things out there.”
Spence raised an eyebrow. This woman knew dirt. How to get her to spill it was the question. This definitely wasn’t the time. No-means-no Matt was too close for comfort.
She poured Spence a cup of coffee, offering “Cream? Sugar?”
He shook his head. “That smells like good coffee. It doesn’t need anything.”
Nancy handed Spence his cup and then went back to pour one for herself.
“Did you happen to know Harold Paulson from the board?”
With a little exclamation, the creamer jug slipped from her hand and splashed cream on Nancy on it’s way to the floor. “How clumsy of me. I’ll get something to clean this up.” Nancy’s smile was tight as she rushed from the room.
Matt’s head came around the curtain, “Everything okay here?”
Spence took a sip of coffee. “As far as I know.”